Video of UAE school bully ‘attacking’ classmate sparks outrage

A recent survey revealed that nearly a third of students in the UAE have suffered daily bullying. (File/Shutterstock)
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Updated 13 February 2020

Video of UAE school bully ‘attacking’ classmate sparks outrage

  • Girl can be heard threatening classmate while pulling her hair and swearing
  • Research revealed in 2019 one third of UAE students suffered daily bullying

DUBAI: The GEMS Education company, which recently announced a multimillion-dollar expansion into Saudi Arabia, has confirmed that a viral video that appears to show a bullying incident was filmed in one of its schools and that “appropriate action has been taken.”

The video has caused widespread upset and prompted social media influencers to condemn what many describe as disturbing images.

In the video that was widely shared on Twitter, a female student can be seen tugging on another girl’s hair before threatening her and dragging her around by her sweater.

It lasts nearly one minute and shows the girl forcibly pulling her victim’s hair. The victim then appears to cry before trying to walk away.

The other girl grabs her arm, telling the girl that she wants to talk to her.

As her victim sobs, the attacker tells her not to tell anyone about what has happened, adding “I will get really mad.”

It has not been revealed what provoked the attack.

In a statement a GEMS Education spokesman said: “We are aware of an earlier incident at one of our schools and can confirm that appropriate action has already been taken in accordance with our safeguarding policy. The school acted promptly to investigate and resolve the issue, and we will continue to prioritize the safety, security and well-being of all our students.”

Detailing actions the company is taking to combat bullying, a spokesperson added: “GEMS Education takes a zero-tolerance stance when it comes to all forms of bullying. The safety, security and well-being of each and every one of our students is an uncompromisable priority across all our schools.

“This is why we have a dedicated central Safeguarding Team, Safeguarding Leads and pastoral teams in every school, training for staff, as well as policies and procedures for addressing and resolving cases judiciously and effectively.”

School takes ‘necessary steps’

According to the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), which governs Dubai’s schools, the latest incident took place about a month ago — but the video went viral earlier this week after it was posted on Twitter on Sunday.

“The safety and well-being of all students at Dubai’s private schools is a top priority for us. Following an investigation into the incident, we can confirm the school has already taken necessary steps to resolve the matter,” a KHDA spokesman said.

“We want to reassure the community that our schools, educators and parents are committed to continue providing a safe, caring and positive learning environment to all students in Dubai.”

The video has sparked widespread outrage, with many calling for more action.

Parents ‘need to know their children’

Social influencer Karen Wazen, who has 2.4 million followers on her Instagram account, discussed the video and her concerns about bullying in a recent post.

“It was really disturbing to watch,” the concerned mother-of-three tells viewers. “But I think more importantly it was disturbing to actually accept the fact that this happens. This happens closer to home than you can imagine. This could happen to your children. Your children could also be the bullies.”

She said bullying was an important issue that needed to be addressed, and acknowledged that her own children could be exposed to bullying.

Wazen said it was important for children to feel they could be open with their parents.

Parents had a responsibility to know who their children mixed with, she said. Her post has received more than 102,400 likes.

 

One-third of UAE students suffer daily bullying

A recent survey by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development revealed that nearly a third of UAE students are bullied on a daily basis, while 31 percent are bullied a few times a month.

In July, 2019, the UAE Ministry of Education held a week of events aimed at combating bullying in the country.

In October, 2018 Saudi Arabia announced an $800 million, 10-year plan to build schools across the Kingdom in partnership with the UAE-based education company GEMS.

And in August, 2019, it was announced that Ma’arif Education and Training Company had been acquired by a joint venture involving GEMS Education KSA.

Ma’arif private schools was established in 1971 in Saudi Arabia and has more than 13 campuses across the Kingdom, with more than 20,000 students.


Coronavirus: 16 killed in Iran, 95 infected

Workers disinfect Qom’s Masumeh shrine, which is visited by a large number of people, to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. (AFP)
Updated 26 February 2020

Coronavirus: 16 killed in Iran, 95 infected

  • Six Saudi women recovering in Bahrain as Kingdom warns against travel to Italy and Japan

DUBAI: Two more people infected with the new coronavirus have died, taking the toll in Iran to 16, a Health Ministry official told state TV on Tuesday.

Iran has the highest number of deaths from coronavirus outside China, where the virus emerged late last year.
“Among those who had been suspected of the virus, 35 have been confirmed and two died of the coronavirus infection,” said Health Ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour. He said 95 people had been infected across Iran.
The Health Ministry urged Iranians to stay at home.
Iran said on Monday 900 cases were suspected, dismissing claims by a lawmaker from Qom who said 50 people had died in the city, the epicenter of the new coronavirus outbreak.
Iran, which confirmed its first two deaths last week in Qom, has yet to say how many people it has quarantined, but the semi-official Mehr news agency said 320 people had been hospitalized.
Iraj Harirchi, Iran’s deputy health minister, has tested positive for the coronavirus and is now under quarantine.
Six Arab countries have reported their first cases of coronavirus, with those infected all having links to Iran. Kuwait said the number of infected people there had risen to eight.
Bahrain’s Health Ministry said 15 more people, including six Saudi women, had tested positive for the virus after returning from Iran via Dubai and Sharjah. The new cases were carried by Bahraini and Saudi nationals who arrived at Bahrain International Airport from Iran via Dubai or Sharjah.
The Saudi Ministry of Health said that it was coordinating with Bahraini health officials for the treatment of the Saudi women who had visited Iran. They will remain in Bahrain until they are fully recovered. The Kingdom has advised citizens and residents to avoid traveling to Italy and Japan.
Iranian authorities have ordered the nationwide cancellation of concerts and soccer matches and the closure of schools and universities in many provinces.
The head of Qom’s Medical Science University, Mohammad Reza Ghadir, expressed concern over “the spread of those people infected by the virus across the city,” adding the Health Ministry had banned releasing figures linked to the coronavirus.
Many Iranians took to social media to accuse authorities of concealing the facts.
Rouhani called for calm, saying the outbreak was no worse than other epidemics that Iran has weathered.
The sight of Iranians wearing masks and gloves is now common in much of the country.
Sales of masks, disinfectant gels and disposable gloves have soared in Tehran and other cities, with officials vowing to prevent hoarding and shortages by boosting production.
Iran has shut schools, universities and cultural centers until the end of the week in an effort to stop the spread of coronavirus.
The UAE has banned all flights to and from Iran. The UAE, home to long-haul carriers Emirates and Etihad, remains a key international transit route for Iran’s 80 million people.
Emirates, the government-owned carrier based in Dubai, flies daily to Tehran. Its low-cost sister airline, FlyDubai, flies to multiple Iranian cities, as does the Sharjah-based low-cost carrier Air Arabia.
The announcement came after Bahrain said it would suspend all flights from Dubai and Sharjah.
Kuwait raised the number of its infected cases to eight, after earlier raising the number to five. It said the three latest cases involved Kuwaiti citizens just back from Iran, without giving more details. The five previously reported cases were passengers returning on a flight from the Iranian city of Mashhad, where Iran’s government has not yet announced a single case of the virus.
Kuwait had halted transport links with Iran over the weekend and said it was evacuating its citizens from Iran.
An Iraqi family of four who returned from a visit to Iran tested positive for the coronavirus, the first Iraqis known to have caught the disease.
The four cases in Kirkuk province brought Iraq’s total to five after it reported its first case on Monday, an Iranian theology student in Najaf. Iraq is deeply concerned about its exposure to the Iranian outbreak, as it has deep cultural and religious ties with its neighbor and typically receives millions of Iranians each year.
The Iraqi government, which has already banned all travel from China and Iran, added Italy, Thailand, South Korea, Singapore and Japan to its travel ban list on Tuesday. Returning Iraqi citizens are exempt, as are diplomats.
Populist Shiite cleric Moqtada Al-Sadr suspended a call for his followers to hold a “million-man” protest, saying he had decide to forbid the events “for your health and life, for they are more important to me than anything else.”
“I had called for million-man protests and sit-ins against sectarian power-sharing and today I forbid you from them for your health and life, for they are more important to me than anything else,” he said in a statement. It was not immediately clear how the government’s call on citizens to avoid public gatherings would affect the strength of anti-government protests, and the response of security forces.
A Turkish Airlines plane flying from Iran was diverted to Ankara on Tuesday at the Turkish Health Ministry’s request and an aviation news website said one passenger was suspected of being infected by coronavirus.
Turkey’s Demiroren news agency broadcast video showing ambulances lined up beside the plane, with several personnel wearing white protective suits on the tarmac.
The plane was flying from Tehran and had been scheduled to land in Istanbul. Turkey shut its borders to Iran on Sunday and cut flights due to the spread of the virus in that country.
Oman’s Khasab port has suspended the import and export of goods to and from Iran from Feb. 26.